The Memphis Grizzlies assigned center Hamed Haddadi (pronounced ha-MED ha-DAHD-dee) to the Dakota Wizards, their NBA Development League affiliate, General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

“The Dakota Wizards are a tremendous organization which the Grizzlies are fortunate to have as our affiliate,” Wallace said. “We are eager to watch Hamed’s development under coach Duane Ticknor’s tutelage. This assignment will be a positive experience for Hamed.”

Signed as a rookie free agent on Aug. 28, Haddadi averaged 1.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 9.7 minutes in six preseason games.  The 7-2, 280-pound center has yet to make his NBA regular season debut.

A native of Ahvaz, Iran, Haddadi represented his country last summer in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, where he averaged a double-double (16.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks) in Olympic competition, playing five games for the Iranian National Team.

The 23-year-old also posted 14.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 25.5 minutes in two contests for the Iranian National Team at the 2008 Rocky Mountain Revue in Salt Lake City last summer.

Slated to become the first Iranian to ever play in the NBA, Haddadi is the Grizzlies’ first assignment to the D-League since the club assigned Alexander Johnson to the Arkansas RimRockers on March 1, 2007.  The 23-year-old is the seventh NBA player (sixth rookie) to be assigned to the Development League in 2008-09.

Haddadi, who will wear jersey No. 50, is expected to make his D-League debut in the Wizards’ regular season opener vs. Iowa Energy on Saturday, Nov. 29 at the Bismarck Civic Center in Bismarck, North Dakota.